|Katrina - photo from the Internet|
Yes, let that sink in for a moment.
I'm not talking about cheats who file false claims, scams where the unscrupulous rip off the rest of us, or the kind of systematic fraud that always crops up around catastrophe. No, these are stories about people who have lost everything but still having to make mortgage payments on a home they can't live in any more... or folk who see every dollar of potential repair money bypass their home and go directly to the bank... or families left destitute because their insurance company found some convenient loophole....
I call these stories "Unnatural Disasters."
It's one thing to lose everything because Hurricane Katrina let loose, or some F5 tornado cut a swath of destruction a mile wide through your town, or a tectonic plate shifted your entire country a few feet down and to the right, or because even the mighty Mississippi River isn't big enough to handle the spring run-off this year. But it's another story entirely when people turn on one-another and injustice reigns down like an everflowing stream.
There's been a great deal of noise lately about the proliferation of natural disasters. Tsunamis, 9.2 magnitude earthquakes, unprecedented destruction from tornadoes, monster hurricanes, volcanic ash...
What's next, an asteroid on collision course with the Earth? "It's not a question of 'IF'," the Discovery Channel tells us, "it's a question of 'WHEN....'"!!!
|Nazi Germany - Internet archives|
And we venture, I believe, perilously close to unnatural disaster to the extent that we live outside the mandate of love. Paul got the concept exactly right in his letter to the Philippian church: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus." (chapter 2:3-5)
We can deal with pretty much anything in the "natural" world if we simply make the decision to act toward our fellow humans - all of them - based on love; and by love I mean love as the kind of initiative personified in Jesus.
- Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
In love, and because of love - DEREK